Muni operator Charles Haletky on teaching “professional paranoia”

Operators are the front-line glue holding this operation together. Still, The Public (myself included) have had a spicy word or two for an operator, occasionally on this very website. So often we’ve had a spicy word for any operator, stranger, or boss on the wrong day at the wrong time. Some wrong days are wrong-er than others.

Veteran operator Charles Haletky joined us at a special Muni Diaries Live in April 2024, which paid homage to the operators, mechanics, trainers, and everyone in the SFMTA universe keeping the machine running. In this recording from the show, Haletky walks us through the highs of “pure, exquisite joy of public humiliation” and the lows of, well…the lowest you can imagine. He reminds us that, as someone who trains the next generation of operators, he needs to be cruel on occasion—not to be kind, but for the greater good.

Listen to the stories on your favorite pod platform:

And then! Subscribe so don’t miss a minute. We regularly bring audio from the live shows, as well as ongoing musings from the everyday Muni experience. Muni Diaries on Spotify? Muni Diaries on Apple Podcasts? Hit us up.

Pic by Emily Huston

Tanea Lunsford Lynx shines light on past-tense San Francisco

Tanea Lunsford Lynx joined us at Muni Diaries Live in April 2023 to perform I Used to Live Here, her poem evoking the magic of relatives living a mere Muni ride away, the otherworldly dimension between West Portal and Van Ness Stations, and the soothing something about 24-hour Church Street Safeway light. She was one of the San Francisco-born-and-raised artists featured in Muni Raised Me, an exhibit exploring what truly public transit means to those who depend on it—and are ultimately shaped by it.

Here’s Tanea:

Tanea, an artist and educator, gave me chills with her delivery and lyrical gift. She also left me hopeful that the city she “used to” live in and the characters she described can thrive in present-tense San Francisco, too.

You might remember Tanea from Muni Diaries podcast Eps. 140 and 141, featuring Tanea and her students at performing original poetry about our everyone’s favorite school bus. And don’t forget to check out Muni Raised Me co-curator Meymey Lee in Ep. 144.

Muni Diaries is 15 years old! Forget a birth-month, we’ve made it a birth-year. Join us Nov 2 for the festivities at a special Muni Diaries Live. Tickets are available now (but going fast!) on Eventbrite.

Photo by Emily Huston

Zoiks! Spooky season scaries at the Legion of Honor

Have you been to the Legion of Honor at night? I haven’t. And I definitely won’t be going after this story.

Muni operator and Muni Haiku Battle champion Mc Allen reminds us of what can go bump (and wrong) on a late-night run. Originally shared at Muni Diaries Live in April 2023, it’s the perfect accompaniment to the seasonal festivities. 

Mc (pronounced “Mack”) was once featured on the Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, the NPR weekly news quiz. He believes in the power of Slow Streets, Great Walkways, Transit Only Lanes and No Parking Signs. Mc’s poetry has appeared in The San Franciscan magazine and the Bay City Beacon. He’s been a guest of the Total SF, Roll Over Easy, 99% Invisible, and Muni Diaries podcasts, as well as a twice-victor, once-victim at the Muni Haiku Battle at Muni Diaries Live. Mc lives in Dogpatch with his wife and two kids, and you can find him behind the wheel of the 35-Eureka and the 29-Sunset. 

Here’s Mc:

We might have mentioned one or twice or 20 times, but we are celebrating our 15th birthday. Festivities continue at Muni Diaries Live on November 2, so don’t miss out! We have some anniversary goodies and are putting the variety in variety show. Tickets are available now on Eventbrite.

Photo by Emily Huston

A leather jockstrap and a dream—how a Mission barbershop kept on keeping on

Blond woman with tattoos tells a story on stage into a microphone

Jill Sutherlin didn’t set out to become the guardian of a beloved Mission safe space, but the pandemic and a few other twists and turns led her to become one of its fiercest protectors. She takes us through some of those twists and turns in this story, which she told on stage at Muni Diaries Live in April 2023.

Jill proudly hails from Oakland. She is the co-owner of The Refinery Grooming Club: an independently owned, upscale barbershop and the backdrop of this story. She is also a DJ at Bff.fm: an internet-based, community-run radio station in San Francisco, and founder of United Streets Direct Care, a nonprofit donating on-site hair-care services to unhoused communities in the Bay Area and Modesto.

Here’s Jill:

Did you super-tuned in listeners catch the mention of our ongoing 15th birthday celebration? We’re keeping the party going at Muni Diaries Live on November 2! We have some anniversary surprises cooked up and tickets are available now on Eventbrite.

Photo by Emily Huston

Muni Diaries Live returns on Nov. 2, 2023 to celebrate our 15th birthday

We’ve seen paper FastPasses and late night transfers come and go, but one thing stays the same: Muni riders are in it together! We’re celebrating 15 years of sharing your experiences on the bus, and we want you to help us mark the occasion.

We’ve invited some stellar storytellers and we’ll be unveiling our commemorative Muni Diary* — gorgeous notebooks handmade by Enon Avital (Dapper Notebooks) featuring cover art by Chris Arvin (Transit Supply). Check out photos of the journal below. It’s perfect for your transit journaling needs.

Join us for an evening of storytelling, hilarious tales and music, and, of course, our Muni Haiku Battle. We’ll toast (bubbly included while supplies last!) to 15 years of transit rider solidarity. All together now: back door!

Muni Diaries Live! Tickets on sale now.

Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023

Doors: 6 p.m. Show: 7 p.m.

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell Street, San Francisco

Photo by Emily Huston

How a life lived (well) on Muni evolved into a life of civic duty

Muni is San Francisco’s deep end: immediate and immersive exposure to strangers, testing our tolerance for other people’s music, aromas, food, volume, attitude, or public habits. Sometimes all of them at the same time.

This concept is what brought Muni Diaries to life. It’s also what makes Muni interesting and representative of the city it cuts through. We can still celebrate and rally around that idea thanks to folks like Meymey Lee.

Meymey is an organizer, artist, and outdoor educator, who joined us on stage at Muni Diaries Live. They touched on one of my favorite things about Muni: it can not only highlight our shared humanity, but inspire civic duty and a sense of community. We first connected with Meymey through their multimedia exhibit, Muni Raised Me, a showcase of San Francisco born-and-raised artists exploring what Muni means to the folks who grew up on it.

Say hi to your neighbors, San Francisco! It might just be Meymey. Listen to the podcast on all your favorite platforms:

We are proud to have had not just one, but two of the talented artists from Muni Raised Me at our spring show. Stay tuned for the lyrical stylings of Tanea Lunsford Lynx, an artist and educator, in an upcoming podcast episode. In the meantime, prepare to be impressed—Tanea brought their students to the exhibit to perform original poetry about life on the school bus (Muni, obvs), and we captured some of the audio in an earlier podcast ep.

Photo: Emily Huston

1 2 3 25